Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The bulk of the violation here is found in Section 3, where you have so many enumerations of acts covered by this law.

Given in past bar examinations by way of problems are situations covered by Subsections A,B,D, in so far as the 1 year period stated there is concerned. Subsection E – the most widely invoked provision of this law. Subsection G and Subsection I

In subsection I, you must be careful; the only way the PO involved may avoid incurring a violation of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices act is for him to divest himself of any interest in the enterprise applying before the board, panel, or group where the public officer is involved, OR resigned his membership in that board, panel, or group.

Subsection I expressly provides that even though the PO possessing conflicting interest in the applicant enterprise voted against the application, still the law is violated. But that provision of Subsection I covers only such application requiring the exercise of discretion on the part of the board, panel, or group in which the PO is a member. So if the application would require only ministerial act on the part of that board, panel, or group, this subsection I of Sec 3 of the law does not govern.

The most widely violated provision is that of Subsection E – causing undue injury to another, private or public, by giving unwarranted benefit though manifest partiality, evident bad faith, gross inexcusable negligence.

About this injury, it is already ruled by the SC that the injury contemplated here must be quantifiable in money. It has reference to material injury, not to any damages which are subject of speculation. So the complainant here cannot invoke its violation, only because he suffers moral damages or because he suffered some temperate or moderate damages. The damages here must be one that is quantifiable in money.

Secondly here, one of the predicate of the complaint under this subsection of the law is that of evident bad faith. The injury caused was brought about by evident bad faith on the part of the public officer accused of the violation. Although violations of this law are mala prohibita and in crimes mala prohibita, good faith or lack of criminal intent is not a defense, and therefore irrelevant or immaterial, yet in this violation of the law where the complaint is based on alleged evident bad faith, the accused as an exception, should be allowed to adduce evidence of good faith or lack of criminal intent in causing the damage. SC SAID that if would not be allowed, the accused would be denied the chance to defend himself because the only way to controvert the alleged evident bad faith is to adduce evidence of good faith and of lack of criminal intent. {You take note of this exception. You must have planted in your minds now that in bar exams, most of the problems given refer to situation to exceptions to the rule.}

In that subsection (i) where the member of the board, panel, or group voted against the application that has conflicting interest with the applicant enterprise, this was given in the bar several times. The only way to escape liabilities is to resign or divest himself of the interest in the applicant enterprise. But the provision must apply first, and that provision will apply only if the application involved the exercise of discretion.

In a case involving the officers of the Cebu International Airport for violation of this provision, it was shown that the act taken by the board, panel, or group was merely ministerial because the transaction has already been consummated. So what they do is just to approve this ministerially, because actually the procured materials where the violation of the law was incurred has already [resulted]. So SC said this provision is not violated because the act done by this board is already ministerial. The transaction has already been consummated or is implemented. So they can only be held administratively and civilly liable but not criminally. {be careful about this!}

*Violations of the Anti-graft and corrupt practices act are mala prohibita. So except in that particular situation in subsection (e) of Section 3, evidence of good faith or lack of criminal intent is not a defense. The fact that the government benefited out of the prohibited transaction is no defense at all. SC categorically pronounced: “In crimes mala prohibita, the law is not interested in the effect of the prohibited act, but simply from the fact that the prohibited act was VOLUNTARILY committed. That being so, criminal liability attaches.
So where a municipal mayor who was elected into office found the coffers of the local government empty, nothing to pay the salary of the employees of the municipal government, no money to pay the basic services. He rented out a part of the municipal building. Nobody was interested to rent because they have to renovate the place. So his son made an offer to the municipal council which conducted the hearing that because there is no interested bidder, he conducted an offer. It was found to be the most advantageous because the son of the mayor would convert the place into a canteen and a convenience store without any centavo coming from the municipality. The municipality after all was bankrupt. So he will advance the {amount} will operate the place, and he will only get whatever the amount he had advanced. Any profit earned out of the operation therefore will inure to the municipality. He announced that he is only willing to do this because his father is the mayor and he wanted the father to be able to attend to the basic services needed by the constituent of the municipality. In fact, the other parties who wanted the same concession challenged the legality of the contract before the local RTC. The local RTC dismissed the complaint. So he instead raised the axed against the mayor, filed with the SB a criminal case for violation of RA 3019, based on the fact that he contracted with his son involving the property of the municipality.

SB convicted him. He appealed to the SC.

SC affirmed the conviction. It is enough that the act is prohibited and that the public officer voluntarily performed the act, that means w/out duress only. The high court said: “In crimes MP, the law is not interested in the effects of the law on the prohibited act. The law is interested only in whether the act was voluntarily done or not. If voluntarily done, then criminal liability attaches.

So you should know the important point there that the act was done to benefit the government, as long as the act is prohibited under this law, it is therefore a malum prohibitum if is from the voluntarily doing of the act which will violate the law, that will be controlling.

Under Sec 8 of this law (RA3019), in the investigation of the public officer charged for having accumulated ill-gotten wealth, his bank accounts where this funds or his nominee or his dummy may be examined.

In a case where the bank account of the public officer under investigation or being examined, the Bank refused access to the records invoking the Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits (R.A. 1405). An issue was brought before the SC. SC ruled ‘the examination may proceed. This is an exception to those already provided in the law itself. Since the purpose here is to discover the ill-gotten wealth, the provision of the law would be useless if after all the bank deposit of the public officer involved cannot be examined. So the high court said: “Aside from the exception to the law on secrecy of bank deposit, this should authorize under the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act should be considered only as exception to this prohibition under the law.” so the public officer being examined for any ill-gotten wealth cannot invoke the Law on Secrecy on Bank Deposit to prevent an examination of his bank accounts. Those of his wife, those of his children below 18 years of age, those who were assignees, nominees, or dummies.
Violation of this law now prescribes in 15 years, but this will only refer to violation committed after the amendment was made in 1982. Before this, the prescriptive period for the violation is only 10 years. This is the period you will apply before the amendment in 1982 extending the prescription to 15 years.

Another important aspect under Section 13 of this law --- That any public officer charged for having violated this law shall be suspended from public office upon a finding of the court of a valid information filed against him. In view of this provision, jurisprudence is to the effect that the suspension is mandatory but not automatic. The Court which is now exclusively the SB for violation of this law must first determine the merit of the accusation against the public officer charged for violation of this law. That means there should be a hearing. Public officer accused of the violation must be given notice to explain why he should not be suspended from public officer pending the investigation of the criminal case against him pursuant to Section 13 of this law. The SB cannot routinarily issue an order of suspension. The suspension is mandatory but it is not automatic – meaning to say, upon the filing of the information the court will issue the order of suspension applying that will issue a warrant of arrest, that is not so because of that provision requiring the court to give details of information filed. Only after the court has determined that there is a meritorious information filed for violation of this law may the court, which is now the SB, may issue the Order of suspension.

The Order of suspension shall be for 90 days. It shall cover whatever public office is held by the accused at the time the order was issued, even though that public office is not the office where the violation was committed.

So as long as the accused holds a public office, the order of suspension will apply to that public position, even though the violation of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act was not committed in that office. It is already a decided situation. Where a public officer committed a violation of this law when he was a member of the Provincial Board, have instead he ran for Vice Governor and he won, so he held office for Vice Governor. In the meantime the case against him for violation of this law was filed with the SB. SB after the hearing, the so-called ‘pre-suspension hearing’ that you must have learned in your study of administrative law, must be conducted and thereupon, SB issued the order of suspension.

The suspension was challenged because it is being applied to an office held by the accused as Vice Governor whereas the alleged violation of this law was committed in the Office of the Provincial Board while he was a member thereof. So he claimed he cannot be suspended from the public office of the Vice Governor.
SC ruled whatever public office is there at the time the order of suspension was issued, the accused must be suspended therefrom. The SB was acting within its jurisdiction in ordering the suspension even by those occupying the coordinate department of the government. SB would be acting within its jurisdiction, but the same cannot just be implemented. The head of the coordinating department of the government must conform to the order of suspension, actually they are the ones who will implement the order of suspension, not the sheriff of the SB. So if the accused is a member of the House of Representative or the Senate, the sheriff of the SB will serve the order of suspension to the Speaker of the House or the Senate President for him to set the mechanism of the legislative body on the manner of suspending members thereof. If they do not want to suspend, that is the end of the order. This is so even when a member of the legislative is the one involved. SB has jurisdiction to order the suspension.


  1. A full chapter is devoted to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019, as amended) in a book entitled "LAWS AND JURISPRUDENCE ON GRAFT AND CORRUPTION" by Atty. Noel Villaroman, published by CentralBooks. My Criminal Law Review professor uses this as reference. It is an excellent summary of the law and useful for the Bar Exam.

  2. nice post. thanks.

  3. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  4. found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  5. sir/ma'am,
    with your indulgence,can you give the citations in your article wherein the SC said this and that, because it (article) would have been more authoritative if the citations where indicated. nevertheless, the article is so good, i find it very enlightening, it helps a lot. thanks.

  6. how about if you are a governor and you directly purchase fuel for the use of government vehicles & equipment from a gas station owned by your mother?

  7. Hi Anonymous,

    That is also a violation of this law.

    "Section 4. Prohibition on private individuals. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person having family or close personal relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from any other person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which such public official has to intervene. Family relation shall include the spouse or relatives by consanguinity or affinity in the third civil degree. The word "close personal relation" shall include close personal friendship, social and fraternal connections, and professional employment all giving rise to intimacy which assures free access to such public officer."

    The governor's mother is a 1st degree kin so any transaction entered by his mother constitutes undue advantage and indirect financial interest prohibited by this act.

  8. what about a son of an administrative officer who has done services like video footage/documentation of an event and said transaction has not undergone public bidding since the amount is minima like Php7000.00 Likewise same administrative officer is the one supplying the tarpaulins needed in the same office she is assigned. is it legal and authorized?

  9. hi again anonymous,

    1. for small value, the alternative mode of procurement is done by shopping where an agency needs to obtain quotation from at least three suppliers.

    2. she could be liable for undue influence and having direct material financial interest in the transaction.


  11. Could you provide your reference for this? Thanks!

    *Another anonymous user

  12. HI another anonymous user. I got this material when I was reviewing for the Bar in 2006. I might have gotten this from SSC Law but not really sure.

  13. May I know the citation (jurisprudence) of Sec. 3(e)?

    "SC SAID that if would not be allowed, the accused would be denied the chance to defend himself because the only way to controvert the alleged evident bad faith is to adduce evidence of good faith and of lack of criminal intent. {You take note of this exception. You must have planted in your minds now that in bar exams, most of the problems given refer to situation to exceptions to the rule.}